Monday June 17th, 2024 12:36AM

Region 8-4A girls: Black leads Chestatee past EHall, into finals; Holbrook pushes East Forsyth past NHall

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — When you play Chestatee, finding Riley Black is always the game plan.

For three quarters in the Region 8-4A semifinals at the Lynn Cottrell Center on Thursday, East Hall held the junior scoring machine in check. In the fourth, however, Black poured in 10 points, including 8-of-10 from the free throw line, to help the Lady War Eagles hold off the Lady Vikings, 56-53, and advance to Friday’s championship game against East Forsyth.

Black finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists.

“We did a good job on her until the fourth quarter,” East Hall coach Justin Wheeler said. “But she’s a great player, and she was able to make some things happen at the end. That’s what good players do.”

East Hall’s Kaylana Curry converted a three-point play to begin the final period and tie the game at 41. Riley then began to take control. She hit a pair of free throws, had an assist on a Sierra Yarbrough basket, and then hit three more free throws to cap a 7-0 run.

The Lady Vikings never got closer than two the rest of the way, although the Lady War Eagles had to hold their breath as a 3-point attempt from East Hall’s Callie Dale clanged off the rim at the buzzer.

“Riley is a special player, and we see a lot of different (defensive) things from teams to try and slow her down,” Chestatee coach Sutton Shirley said. “But she was able to make a few plays and create some other opportunities for our other shooters.”

A Blakely Boyd 3-pointer gave Chestatee (20-7) a 53-46 lead with just 53 seconds left, but the Lady Vikings (11-17) did not go away. Maleah Harrison hit back-to-back driving layups to get within 53-50 and then converted a three-point play with 17 seconds left to make it 55-53.

But that’s as close as they could get.

“Our girls never quit. They are a scrappy bunch,” Wheeler said. “We’ve finally gotten most everybody back from injury, and we’re just trying to get back to playing our style of play.”

Both offenses constantly pushed the ball in a high-flying first half that had six lead changes and three ties. 

East Hall got the first run with a 10-2 spurt as all five starters scored, capped by a 3-pointer from Dale for a 10-4 lead. But Chestatee answered with an 11-2 run, with Caroline Bull hitting a pair of 3-pointers and Black scoring five points to take a 15-12 lead.

Harrison capped a 5-0 Lady Vikings run with a basket to open the second quarter and a 17-15 lead. Chestatee’s Addison Boyd then exploded for 8 straight points, including two 3-pointers, as the Lady War Eagles stormed out to a 23-17 lead.

Harrison and Bull then had a personal duel over the final four minutes. Harrison scored 8 points, and Bull had two 3-pointers as the Lady Vikings rallied to tie the game at 29 by halftime.

Bull knocked down 15 points, all on 3-pointers, and Boyd had 8 points and 7 rebounds for Chestatee.

Harrison poured in a game-high 26 points and pulled down 9 rebounds to pace East Hall. Curry had 11 points for the Lady Vikings. Two nights after a 26-point effort with eight 3-pointers, Dale finished with 6 points, and 6 rebounds as the Chestatee defense limited her touches much of the game.


The Lady Broncos advanced to their second straight region title game, this time in Region 8-4A, after knocking off the Lady Trojans in the semifinals.

The Lady Broncos (16-12) will take on Chestatee on Friday at 7 p.m. at Lynn Cottrell Center for the title. North Hall (20-7) will take on East Hall in the third-place game at 4 p.m.

Senior Ella Holbrook put on a clinic for the Lady Broncos, pouring in 25 points, 17 in the first half on a variety of 3-pointers, driving floaters, free throws, and off steals. North Hall had no defensive answer for her as East Forsyth also took advantage of a cold-shooting night by the Lady Trojans.

“East Forsyth played tough defense, but we also feel like we left some points out there, especially late,” North Hall coach Eric Herrick said. "You have to give (East Forsyth) credit. They played better than us."

The game was back and forth in the first quarter. Five lead changes and four ties highlighted the action, with North Hall taking a 12-11 lead on an Amelia Shoemaker 3-pointer. But the Lady Trojans would never lead again.

Holbrook had 15 in the second quarter, including a stretch of 10 straight points. A pair of 3-pointers sparked a 14-5 run as the Lady Broncos ran out to a 30-19 lead at one point after a pair of Holbrook free throws.

North Hall fought cold shooting the entire game but especially in the first 16 minutes. But a 6-3 run to close out the half pulled the Lady Trojans within 33-26 by halftime.

In the third quarter, East Forsyth quickly pushed its lead to 43-31 on an Adeline Rosebush basket, but North Hall finally found some offensive rhythm. Lexi Jarrard drained a 3-pointer, and later Shoemaker would hit two more, including one with just 3 seconds left in the period to cut the lead to 50-46.

But that’s as close as the Lady Trojans would get. Rosebush had 9 of her 21 points in the fourth as she repeatedly got behind the North Hall defense to keep the lead between 6 to 10 points over the final three minutes.

Herrick said the focus will remain the same for the Lady Trojans, who will move into the playoffs without leading scorer Kristina Peach. The senior guard was lost for the season two weeks ago.

“We’ll continue to fight every day,” Herrick said. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be one person.

“We’re going to need several (girls) stepping up to make plays in crunch time, But we’re going to continue to work hard.”

Athena Vachtsevanos paced North Hall with 17 points. Rylee Thompson had 15, and Shoemaker finished with 14 for the Lady Trojans.

Hailey Hiddema had 10 points for East Forsyth.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports
  • Associated Tags: High school basketball, Chestatee girls basketball, North Hall girls basketball, East Hall girls basketball, east forsyth girls basketball
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